The outlook appears bleak and uncertain for the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), the nation’s sole proprietor of electricity supply to business entities, hospitals, schools, homes and a multitude of other customers.
Energy analysts point out that the current capacity of the LEC cannot cope with the demand for electricity by businesses of all types, investment companies and the general population. Due to its low capacity over the years, LEC continues to ration power supply in Monrovia and its environs.
It appears that the expansion programs of the LEC have been placed on what observers describe as ‘perpetual ice,’ due to budgetary constraints.
LEC has perennially encountered serious technical breakdowns as well as constant power supply interruptions partly due to inadequate fuel supply and financial support.
The Corporation’s diesel generators consume an enormous amount of fuel oil needed to supply power to Monrovia and its environs.
On top of the huge challenge of meeting ever increasing public demand, some line ministries and agencies of Government which heavily depend on the LEC’s power supply fail to pay their electricity bills crippling the already feeble corporation.
Meanwhile reconstruction work on the nation’s Mount Coffee Hydro-Electric Power Plant is still on hold as expatriate contractors who left the country due to the Ebola virus outbreak have not returned.
All the funds necessary for the completion of restoration works on the Hydro plant, to the tone of US$230,000,000.00 has been acquired.
Initially, studies conducted by energy partners for the reconstruction of the hydro plant estimated the cost at USD600 million dollars including the payment of contractors and other procurement processes.
Notably, the Government of Norway, a major donor, and other bilateral and multilateral partners had made significant financial contributions to the overall reconstruction of Liberia’s only power house.
Concern has been raised in many quarters about the resumption of work on the hydro power plant.
Asked to comment on the whereabouts of the contractors hired to rebuild the hydro, LEC’s Public Relations consultant Hassan Kiawu said some of them are still awaiting official declaration by medical agencies on the Ebola virus situation, presumably whether it is safe for them to return.
In exclusive interviews with the Daily Observer several LEC customers and business owners in areas of Monrovia and Paynesville, expressed frustration over the irregular supply of power during the year under review.
A wholesale merchant of beverages, construction materials and other goods in demand stressed that the LEC management must in 2015 triple its efforts to supply Monrovia and its environs with sustained power supply.
Mr. Nathaniel B. Washington, 58, said that with the considerable decline in the Ebola virus nationwide, the hydro plant contractors should consider the urgent need to return and restart work in the overall interest of development, growth and progress.
A Liberian businesswoman who runs a cold-storage of imported frozen fish and meats called on the LEC’s hydro plant contractors to return and restart work as, according to her, the current generators being operated by the corporation cannot meet the needs of the customers.
Businesswoman Everlyn B. Tokpah, 64, complained that her business has over the years encountered enormous challenges due to the irregular supply of power by LEC’s management.